April 24, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain auditor says mayor’s accusations are payback

LORAIN — Document tampering accusations against him are Mayor Tony Krasienko playing political hardball over money for The Pipe Yard, Auditor Ronald Mantini told the City Council on Monday night.

Mantini

Mantini

Krasienko

Krasienko

“These accusations are entirely unfounded and are merely an attempt to discredit me and my family, my staff at the Auditor’s Office, my friends and my reputation in this community,” Mantini said. “End this charade by Mayor Krasienko to defame my character and my integrity.”

Mantini said the accusations were payback for his backing Chase Ritenauer who defeated Krasienko in the May Democratic primary. Mantini said he would fully cooperate if any investigation was launched over the accusations.

After Mantini’s comments, Council members approved $13,500 and a $2,000 budget transfer for repairs made at The Pipe Yard, home of the Lorain County Ironmen, an amateur baseball team. Payments have been delayed since Council on May 16 defunded economic development money going to The Pipe Yard.

Krasienko, absent Monday night, last week accused Mantini of forging invoices in a “conspired action” with Councilman Dan Given, D-at large.

Krasienko alleged that Mantini failed to inform Council members that they couldn’t defund the money because the repairs had already been done, and that Mantini then changed account numbers on purchase orders to make the payments.

Krasienko, who didn’t return calls for comment Monday night, said last week he planned to ask for a police investigation after Law Director Pat Riley refused to investigate. Krasienko also said he planned to ask for an investigation by the State Auditor’s Office. An office spokesman said in an email last Thursday that no investigation had been requested.

Riley on Monday night advised Given not to vote on the funding saying it would create the appearance of a conflict of interest. Given, who is Ritenour’s uncle, called the conspiracy allegation a “wild accusation.”

Riley said “in hindsight” that Council members “should and could have known more” and might not have de-funded the money if Mantini had voiced objections.

“Hindsight’s always a 100 percent isn’t it?” Mantini said after the meeting. “Perhaps when the mayor submitted the budget for the economic development fund, he could’ve told Council what he was going to use it for, too. I guarantee you if he would have told them he was going to use it for The Pipe Yard, they wouldn’t have put the money in there in the first place.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.